You may recall the consternation caused by our family's need for a new car that fits a tall dad, picky mom and two tiny chicks in car seats.
I was so irritated by the whole, preliminary, car shopping ordeal that I went into denial about it and was such a waddling whiner at every dealership we entered that I left it to Ryan to boil the options down to two before I got involved.
He actually banned me from joining him at one point - no lie.
Ryan was online, every night, checking specs and consumer reports and message boards and blogs, desperately wanting to avoid the minivan at all costs.
When he came to me with the inevitable "Odyssey-or-Sienna" final decision, I didn't say "told-you-so". I just said, "I'm fine with either one." Admittedly, on the inside, it was more of a "WOO HOO! We're gittin' a minivan." Or, as Leighton calls it, her "Mee-Nee-Ban." It's like she's put a cute little Cuban spin on it.
Only the minivan can do what this family needs a vehicle to do. We need sliding side doors, room for two car seats (or five if need be), third row, remote ignition, back up camera, USB hookup, blue tooth, a zillion airbags, latch systems, room for luggage, comfy ride with lots of space. Nothing else made the cut.
So, we went with the 2011 Honda Odyssey. It looked a little odd from the outside, at first, and there's a little less room in the interior than the Sienna, but it's super slick, handles like a car and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I will say that I get passed more frequently in the minivan - regardless of my speed. I guess other drivers (mostly impatient city-folk) just figure I'm a dumb-ass minivan driver and do their best to stay away from me. Admittedly, that had always been my feeling.
I'm a whiz with the key remote - I have the car running with doors opening as I approach my transport. I can get Lei in and out quickly and have even less of an issue going to the grocery store because I get to play with the back hatch, automatic opener for the bag-loader guys at Sunset.
The only thing we decided to skip was the entertainment package. I know. You're thinking "WHAT? Are you crazy?" We try not to let Lei watch too much TV, but she does like movies. And it's annoying enough that she knows the Annie soundtrack is on the iPod Touch in the car. She's like a little dictator. I'll be damned if she's going to watch Annie or Toy Story 3 or anything else every time we get in the car. I'd rather talk to her or play her Music Together tunes.
If we need movies for a long road-trip, we'll just hang an iPad off the back of my seat for little Lei. That way, we can remove it when we're done and have it on reserve for special occasions ONLY. I know it seems like the most obvious feature for kids, but we felt differently about it at the end of the day - that it would do more harm than good to include it.
So there you have it - one more way we have slipped further into suburbia. However, this slip was a good one and didn't take much adjustment on my part. The only problem is that now, I look positively drunk trying to back the Jeep out of our driveway without a backup cam. Oh well. If you see me, just mutter under your breath (dumb-ass minivan driver). I won't be offended at all.